Divorce is an emotional time for everyone who goes through it.
When most people think of divorce, they think of long, painful litigation on top of the already painful emotions they are experiencing as a result of the separation from their life partner. Mediation provides an alternative approach that is good for parents, and especially beneficial for their children.
Mediation offers a less hostile environment than litigation. Neither parent is attacked the way they would be in court where the sole goal often becomes winning. The child can become the trophy and both sides often lose sight of what is most important- reaching an amicable and workable agreement for the parents AND the children.
In custody disputes, lawyers may be tempted to have children testify as to whom they want to live with or to other pertinent facts. The child is already enduring a traumatic experience seeing the family unit split up. If they become pawns in the litigation process, it can only make matters worse.
Even if the children do not testify, they will still sense the adversarial nature that many parents adopt once litigation begins. With mediation, a neutral party will sit down with both parties and attempt to reach a mutual agreement that is viable for both. The parties can then focus on what they want in the future, as opposed to their past failures.
Additionally, mediation teachs a couple new communication techniques that will especially benefit the children. After divorce, parents will have to work together to find a way to co-parent, and mediation will facilitate the process both during mediation and in the future when the mediator is no longer around. Methods of communicating learned in mediation will be effective long after an agreement is reached. These techniques will become crucial to preserving relationships, and avoiding lifelong animosity for the sake of the children.
Divorce mediation is something that every couple should strongly consider, particularly where children are involved.